Pineapple dip

When my friend Mayumi told me what exactly was in this dip, I’ll admit, I was slightly skeptical.  But one dip in and then I was addicted!  This is so easy and such a hit, I will make it over and over again–to no one’s chagrin.  Works with saltines or chips.  Probably pretzels too if they existed in Japan.  Savoury, sweet, SUPER!  Thanks to Richard (@ThePaperCup) for the photo.  Smashing!

pineapple dip tasty

tasty & addicting!

Pineapple dip

Prep time: 5 minutes                Cooking time: 0 minutes (a first on this blog)              Servings:  6 people

Budget for ingredients: ¥600

Big Bowl
Electric mixer or big spoon


1 package cream cheese
1 can pineapple, chopped
1 T roasted onion
2T garlic puree


  1. Mix everything together.  Then serve it.  BAM!!!!



Stuffing cupcakes

When the holiday season rolls around (aka anytime after Halloween for Japan), I get the urge to bring cooking to almost all of my classrooms!  As long as your teachers like you, and you plan ahead in advance (I start talking about cooking 3-4 weeks before the actual day), this is really easy and a BIG hit.   I completed the following recipe within two periods (washing/clean-up included) for a 5th grade elementary class of 16 kids.  I split them up into two groups for the stuffing and the mashed potatoes.  The only prep work done for this beforehand was the applesauce, because it doesn’t exist in Japan.  I just grated an apple and cooked the mushy part and juice down with some cinnamon which only took 15-20 minutes.  You can do all of this in a big batch and save it in the freezer for other recipes in the future.   It might also help if you measure stuff out for your kids beforehand, so they just have to put it together. 

I also wanted to mention that my students and teachers wanted this recipe so I translated it and put it on a Japanese cooking site called Cookpad.  もし日本語のレシピ欲しかったら,これをクリークしてください!Link to the recipe.

Stuffing cupcake
Happy festivus for the rest of us!

This was adapted from Ryan’s Baking Blog.  You should click on the link just because it has a cute pug in a cupcake!

Stuffing  Cupcakes

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 35-40 minutes              Servings: 16

Budget for ingredients: ¥2000 *This is just approximate.  The teachers usually prepare all of this and I give directions in English. 



2 big bowls
2 mashers (or rice paddles)
1 pot
1 frying pan
2 cutting boards
cupcake tins


2 loaves of french bread
6 strips of bacon
1 c water
1/2 c applesauce
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1 t pepper

Mashed potatoes:
10-12 potatoes
100 g butter
1 c cream
1 handful of cheese


 Stuffing group

  1. Cut the bread and bacon.  The bread should be 1/2 inch cubes and the bacon can just be in little strips.
  2. Add applesauce and water to the bread and bacon in a big bowl.  Mix.  Add more water if it’s not moist enough.  Stuffing should be moist but NOT soggy. 
  3. Mix dry ingredients together and then add it to the bread.  This part is more to taste even though I gave guidelines for them. 
  4. Put the mixture in the little cupcake tins.  Bake in the oven at 180C for 35-40 minutes.

Mashed potatoes group

  1. Wash and peel all the potatoes.
  2. Cut them into 1 inch cubes.
  3. Boil them in the big pot until they are soft and can be pierced with a fork. 
  4. Drain and mash. 
  5. Melt butter in a pan and add it with cream and a handful of cheese to the  potatoes.  Mix.

Putting it together:

Use spoons to put a dollop of the mashed potatoes on the stuffing.  いただきます!

Scallion pancakes

Happy father’s day!  Well, obviously I should have chosen my dad’s favorite dish, but decided to go a generation above today.  To my grandfather!  My grandpa and I used to make scallion pancakes together when I was little.  It was such a treat because they aren’t the healthiest food, but apparently to many Taiwanese/Chinese people this could be the origins of pizza!  Despite the name, this isn’t really a pancake, rather an unleavened bread.

Scallion pancakes are served/sold as street food or with congee, which is a rice porridge.  You can make the dough and cook it right after, or you can easily store it in the freezer in between sheets of plastic wrap.  I love to eat this stuff with a sauce, which I have also included below.

scallion pancakes

Mmm...reminds me of home

Scallion pancakes

Prep time: 15 minutes               Cooking time: 5 minutes              Servings: 6

Budget for ingredients: ¥600


Rolling pin
Cooking sheets (2)
Frying pan


For the pancake:

3 c flour
1 c boiling water
1/2 c chopped scallions
1/2 c shortening
Salt and white pepper
Oil (I use vegetable but any is ok)

For the dipping sauce:

minced garlic
1 T sesame oil
1 T soy sauce


1. Place flour in the bowl and add water slowly and mix constantly until it becomes a ball.  Let it rest for 30 minutes.

2. Divide the dough into fist size pieces, and individually, roll them out between the cooking sheets into a pancake shape 6 inches (or 15 cm) in diameter.

3.  Spread on shortening (around 1/2 T per pancake) and sprinkle on scallions( about 1 T) , salt, and white pepper.

4.  Roll the pancake tightly into a log shape.  Then curve the log into a coil, kind of like a cinnabon!

5.  Roll it out again between the cooking sheets to 6 inches diameter again.

6.  With a bit of oil, pan fry for approximately 2 minutes on each side.  Cut into four pieces.

7. Combine all ingredients in a small cup for the dipping sauce.  Nom nom nom.

Roasted veggies

On one lovely Sunday afternoon a bunch of girlfriends and I convened to pretty much eat our faces off.  Simple veggies oven roasted is a perfect combination with some toasted bread and a bit of cream cheese.  And just look at it, isn’t it gorgeous?  I love the robust colors in this photo!
Roasted Veggies

yum! thank you jemma

Roasted veggies

Prep time: 10 minutes               Cooking time: 5 minutes              Servings: 4

Budget for ingredients: ¥400


Toaster oven


1 kabocha pumpkin
2 sweet potatoes *
2 onions
1 t oregano
1/3 c olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

*Note: Japanese sweet potatoes are called satsuma-imo<さつまいも>.  They are always fresh at the supermarket, and have a pink/purplish skin.


1. Peel onion and quarter it.

2. Cut pumpkin and sweet potato into similar sized pieces.  No need to peel them!

3. Put onion pumpkin and sweet potato together in a pan and drizzle and toss with olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.

4. Bake at 200C for 25-30 minutes, stirring the veggies once in between.  Serve!

Spinach dip

Sometimes, you long for the days that you could get that frozen TGIF spinach artichoke dip and sit and nosh with a big bag of Tostitos and watch countless sappy romance movies with your girlfriends.  WELL, with this recipe you can recreate those memories!  I’ve had to improvise, but I got my inspiration from none other than Smitten Kitchen, which is a cooking blog I truly admire and adore.

Spinach dip

oops...I guess this is a plug for Coca-Cola too.

Spinach dip

Prep time: 10 minutes                Cooking time: 15-20 minutes              Servings: 4

Budget for ingredients: ¥600


Frying pan


1/2 bag of chopped frozen spinach
1/4 chopped onion
2 T minced garlic
1 block of cream cheese
1 t of nutmeg
1/2 c shredded cheese
1 can corn


1. Heat up the stove to high and cook the spinach, onion and minced garlic together until the onion is translucent.  Should be around 5 minutes.

2. Turn stove to low heat and add in cream cheese and nutmeg, and stir often, making sure it all mixes well.  Careful that the cream cheese doesn’t start to burn.

3.  Add in shredded cheese and corn, keep stirring until cheese is melted.

4.  Serve with warm toasted bread or crackers!

Perfect yorkshire puddings

Oops…ohisashiburi (it’s been a long time)!

I recently got addicted to watching everything Gordon Ramsay, and believe that Kitchen Nightmares (UK version) is pretty much the best tv show ever made.  In many episodes Gordon goes to pubs and almost always eats Yorkshire pudding.  I had never seen what it was, but it is usually a side dish to the roast dinner, served with gravy. Anyways, after googling it seems as though they are REALLY easy to make.  They were quite gorgeous if I do say so myself.  Adapted from About!

Yorkshire Pudding

perfectly crisp on the top, kinda mushy in the middle

Yorkshire Pudding

Prep time: 10 minutes                Baking time: 25-30 minutes              Servings: 6

Budget for ingredients: ¥600


1 big bowl
Cupcake tin
Toaster oven


4 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 t of salt
1 cup of flour
3 T butter


1. Whisk eggs and milk together and add the salt.

2. Slowly add flour until well blended.  Let it sit for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 190°C.

4. Put 1/2 t of butter into the cupcake tins.  Place it inside the oven and get it bubbling!  This takes around 3-4 minutes.  DO NOT BROWN THE BUTTER!  This part is really crucial!

5. Meanwhile, whisk the batter really quickly and add in 1 T or so of ice cold water.

6. After you take out the pan, immediately put in that batter!  Fill up the tins 1/3 of the way.

7. Bake for 15 minutes.  Serve!  Become every English(wo)man’s best friend.  Especially if you make vegetarian gravy as well!